As impossible as it is to make happy hours happen as a full-grown “married with children” adult, having date nights – with friends! – seems to be even more difficult. We resort to copious amounts of texting back and forth, comparing calendars and kids’ schedules, wondering if the baby-sitter’s free on the ONE NIGHT in 30 that we’re all free.
It’s exhausting, all the planning.
But, when you do finally make it happen, all the planning’s worth it. The catching up – in person! The laughter! The conversation!
For a recent it-took-three-weeks-of-texting-but-we-finally-found-a-day date night, we met a few friends at The Tasting Room, where good eats and amazing mixed drinks abound.
I hadn’t been to The Tasting Room since its big remodel earlier this year, but I’d been dying to see all the updates. The dining room, which always seemed a bit
cramped too cozy (even though the ceilings are tall, windows are huge, natural light is perfect, and the furniture was modern and sleek), feels more spacious and open now. This is partially due to updated furniture, and a rearranging of the bar area (which includes better definition between the two spaces).
But also this: remember that small private dining room off to the left? Gone. In its place are more tables! Yay!
Back to the food. And the drinks.
That lovely beverage above is a Saffron Gin & Juice from the drinks menu, made with saffron infused gin, aperol, St. Germain, and grapefruit. I was eyeing a few of the gin-based cocktails, and our server promised that I’d love this one, despite the fact that it’s not fizzy. (I did.)
We started our meal with the T|R Crab Dip. It’s a creamy blend of jumbo lump crab meat, Vermont cheddar, Old Bay (just a dusting), with a side of crostini. Mmmm… Others at the table enjoyed the beef carpaccio, which was served with a truffle vinaigrette, arugula, Parmesan shavings, capers and lemon zest.
I also couldn’t pass up this stunning heirloom beet salad, dressed with a sherry vinaigrette, walnuts, and sprinkled with dollops of goat cheese. It was calling to me from the menu: Liza! Eat me!
Just like these scallops.
Jumbo “dry pack” sea scallops, to be exact. Served over creamy white stone ground grits, and topped with smoked bacon and crispy leeks. YUMMMMMMM!
What are dry pack sea scallops, you ask? Well…
Dry scallops are shucked on the boat, but they go into a dry container with no water or preservatives. Their flavor is more pure and concentrated. They have a shorter shelf-life, but this means that they’re fresher when you buy them.
Thank you, the kitchn.
Does this seem like a ridiculous amount of food to you? Well, it is. When you hardly ever make it out to a nice restaurant for a date night, and you also use this as an excuse to celebrate your anniversary (which was, like, six months ago), then you find yourself wanting to eat ALL THE THINGS with no remorse. Even if we felt like crashing at the dinner table, and rolling ourselves to the car afterwards. So sleepy…
In fact, we were SO full, we skipped dessert. THE HORROR.
So, we’ll have to return for another date night at The Tasting Room, specifically for more mixed drinks and dessert. JUST THAT. Why not?
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